Last week I picked up a Canon Powershot G9 (through Amazon where the price has been moving up & down $70). I’d been looking for a point & shoot that would be easier to carry around than a dSLR with good performance. The G9 has solid specs and has been receiving very positive reviews. Overall, it seems like a winner with some predictable limitations:
- Phil Greenspun made a point I liked about P&S cameras, that one advantage is you are much more likely to actually have it with you than a dSLR. The G9 can slide in a jacket or bag easily, but won't fit in your jeans pocket (unless you wear amazingly baggy pants). It has a satisfying feel and weight to it, but I wouldn't call it light the way some ultra-compacts are. And black is a nice choice.
- That the G9 can shoot RAW was a selling point for me. Shooting RAW helps it fit in nicely with editing within Lightroom and allows greater freedom in adjusting the white balance after the shot.
- The lens seems reasonably sharp and at f/2.8-4.8 is reasonably fast for a P&S, but doesn't excel in low-light situations. Above ISO 400 the noise becomes more noticable, and very prounced at ISO 1600 or the in ISO 3200 mode. I'm quickly growing to really like the dedicated ISO dial on the top. Much simpler than adjusting it through menus, like on the Digital Rebel.
- It's a funny fact that lower end cameras often have more features, like shooting movies and live-preview than more expensive dSLRs (at the expensive of optical quality and flexibility). The G9 has the expected shooting modes, and the movie mode could come in handy.
- I think the G9 with its short focusing distance will take decent macro shots, like Boba Fett above. Flickr has some impressive macro shots taken with it.
- The optical viewfinder is pretty small, and I haven't found it very comfortable. Thankfully the 3" LCD screen is beautiful.
- The delay between pressing the shutter button and the picture being taken is annoying. While the amount of time might not truly be that long, any lack of immediacy is unsatisfying. In a crude test involving my cell phone's stopwatch, it seems like it is ~3 tenths of a second. Whereas with my Rebel it is ~1 tenth of a second or less. The G9 lag is just long enough for it not to feel instantaneous. </ul>